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Drivers are putting a record number of miles on U.S. roads, according to US Department of Transportation data—but they’re using less fuel to do it.
According to Bloomberg, ‘the era of peak gasoline is already in the rear-view mirror” even with more miles driven.
U.S. DOT data suggests that drivers in the United States broke the June travel record, driving 283 billion vehicle miles. Meanwhile, implied gasoline data for June was 5% below 2019 levels. U.S. drivers are driving more with less fuel due to improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency and rigorous fuel efficiency standards that have been in place now for more than ten years.
Year over year, travel on all roads and streets in June 2023 increased by 3.1%, or 8.4 billion vehicle miles.
The Biden Administration is looking to crack down even more on fuel efficiency, and recently proposed a tightening of the standards that would see the average new passenger vehicle get at least 58 miles per gallon within the next decade. The NHTSA proposal calls for automakers to increase the corporate average fuel economy targets starting by 2027, and promises to save consumers $50 billion in fuel costs.
As EVs gain foothold in the marketplace—especially in China—agencies such as the IEA are predicting peak gasoline demand soon in some areas. The IEA has predicted China will hit peak gasoline demand in 2024. Meanwhile, China refiners CNPC and Sinopec don’t see peak gasoline hitting in China until the following year.
Americans used about 8.8 million barrels per day of gasoline in 2022—down from 9.3 million in 2019, according to EIA data. U.S. product supplied of finished motor gasoline have rebounded so far in 2023, but are still below 2019 levels.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.